Elon Musk as an Influential Person

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People often call billionaire Elon Musk, the inventor and founder of Zip2, Tesla, PayPal, SpaceX, the real-life ‘Iron Man’. However, in reality, he was the one who inspired Robert Downey Jr. and help him get into his Tony Stark character in Iron Man. At the age of ten, Musk had his first computer, and he soon became passionate about programming. Two years later, he successfully wrote a game called “Blastar”. This game was quite simple; players only need to destroy an alien ship equipped with many destructive weapons. However, for a 12-year-old boy in the 1980s to write such a game, it was really remarkable. Later, PC and Office Technology magazine bought the game for $500, a significant amount for a young boy 34 years ago. In 1989 when he was 17, Elon Musk moved to Canada and attended Queen’s University.

In 1992, he moved again to the United States and studied economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating with his first degree in economics at Penn, Elon Musk moved to Stanford University to pursue a Ph.D. in energy physics. However, realizing that the Internet is a moneymaking industry and has great potential in changing the world, Musk quit school after only 2 days to invest in this field. The result is Zip2 Company, which provides online mapping and tour guide services for websites. Four years later, Compaq bought Zip2 for $307 million, and Musk was able to ‘pocket’ 22 million USD. Using this money, he continued to expand his business and founded X.com, the precursor of Paypal (1999), SpaceX – aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services (2002), and Tesla (2003).

Currently, Musk has a net worth of $22.2 billion and is the 54th richest person in the world according to Forbes ranking. He ranked 24th among the most influential people in the world in 2018. Musk shared that his motivations in doing business were quite clear; a lot of them come from his past failures that upsets him, and he tries to keep his mistakes from repeating in the future. Human hybrid has become the foundation for Musk’s long-term passion; bringing humanity to outer space and settling down on another planet is Musk’s serious goal for the near future. He dreamed of becoming the first man to set foot on Mars, and established the Musk Foundation to devote to space exploration and to search for clean and renewable energy sources.

Famous for these big dreams for the future of humanity and his achievements, but Elon Musk never forgets the extremely difficult times in his life. According to his mother, when he was young, Musk was dreamy, quiet and shy. He often seemed spaced out when his parents tried to talk to him. In school, Musk was a very intelligent student; however, always being the youngest and smallest child made him an easy target for the bullies. He used to be beaten to the point of being hospitalized. At the age of 41, Musk even needed to have surgery to correct his jagged septum, which is the consequence of past bullying.

Moreover, the now billionaire at one point in time had to live on only $1 a day, eating fast food and oranges to survive. It was around the time Musk left his native South African homeland to move to Canada. Without a house, he stayed with his cousins, moving every day to different family members’ houses to live. In 2018, Musk’s career also almost collapsed and the businesses he ran were on the verge of bankruptcy. However, a deal with NASA that generates a $1.6 billion funding for projects saved Musk. Without that turning point, perhaps there wouldn’t have been a successful Elon Musk today for anyone to admire.

In an interview on Danish television, he said he only went on vacation for two weeks in the past 12 years. Musk also revealed that during the 15 years since he first started, he regularly worked 100 hours a week and only slept an average of six hours a night. He had experienced two failed marriages, and perhaps all these are what he had to trade in order to achieve his current success. As a leader and entrepreneur, he describes himself not only as a ‘Micro-manager’ (managers who always pursue perfection in everything, to the smallest detail) but also as a ‘Nano-manager’ (meaning that a manager is interested in minor and even more subtle details). Even Musk himself did not give any excuses when the Journal described him as ‘a hands-on obsession with the tiniest operational and car-design details at Tesla’.

And it is worth mentioning that this rather authoritarian leadership style is applied by Elon Musk even to the company he is running now, SpaceX. For Musk, work is as important as life and he always strives to complete it. He admitted that he spends all of his time forming ideas in his head and implementing them. Musk is obsessed with the smallest details and sets high expectations for himself, his products, and his team. He was accused of being intolerant, sometimes unreasonable, and ready to destroy everything and start over when it was not what he wanted. Musk is also willing to criticize poor ideas around him and want to push them beyond the limit.

After all, working hard and striving for excellence while overcoming mediocrity makes a big difference in Musk’s case. Successful people usually only focus on a certain area that he or she works in. However, Musk is different. He is knowledgeable in many areas, from physics, engineering, energy, artificial intelligence, to rocket science.

To achieve this, Tesla’s CEO reads. Kimbal, Musk’s younger brother, once revealed that from a young age, his brother would read two books every day in many different fields. Sharing his method of learning on the Reddit forum in 2015, Musk said: ‘ I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying. One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.’

In addition to his role at SpaceX and Tesla, Musk constantly strives to turn his creative ideas into reality with several side projects like creating SolarCity, a solar energy services company; co-founding OpenAI, a non-profit company researching and promoting artificial intelligence; founding The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel-construction company; co-founding Neuralink, a neurotechnology company; and proposing Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system. Elon Musk is gradually changing the world with countless crazy but potential ideas. Moreover, he is not only a planner, but also a person who personally implements those plans, transforming his ambitions into reality, contributing to changing the future of humanity himself. For these reasons, it is no surprise that Elon Musk is one of the most influential people in the world.


Cite this paper

Elon Musk as an Influential Person. (2021, Aug 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/elon-musk-as-an-influential-person/



How did Elon Musk become so influential?
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur and business magnate who co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors. He has also founded SpaceX, and is now working on developing the Hyperloop. Musk has become one of the most influential people in the world because of his innovative ideas and his success in turning them into reality.
Is Elon Musk a good influence?
Elon Musk is a good influence because he is an entrepreneur and he is passionate about technology and innovation.
Why is Elon Musk the most influential person in the world?
He is the most influential person in the world because of his work in technology, renewable energy, and space exploration.
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